March 9 2014 Latest news:
Michael Bailey , Formula One correspondent
Saturday, July 7, 2012
Heikki Kovalainen was disappointed Caterham did not make it out of the opening qualifying session at Silverstone on Saturday.
The Hingham marque saw the Finn out-qualified by his team-mate as the pair booked P18 and P19 for Sunday’s British Grand Prix on a drenched Saturday.
But Caterham had been hoping for more, thanks to the tricky conditions and a package of upgrades that have promised much at the factory.
A dry race may give Caterham a helping hand on Sunday, but rain seems inevitable – and it remains to be seen what opportunities that could bring for the Norfolk outfit.
“It’s difficult to say ultimately how well the updates are working because we haven’t been able to run them in the dry enough, but of course it was a disappointment in qualifying,” said Kovalainen.
“In this kind of conditions we would have expected to have a chance of getting into Q2, so of course I was hoping for much more and in the end there was quite a big gap – we were not even close to getting in.
“But the positive thing is the updates seem to be working. How good they are in dry conditions, we may have to wait until Hockenheim to find out.
“It’s difficult to read into the gaps whether they are realistic or not,, but I think we are very confident they are working. Maybe not perfectly optimised, but not too far.”
Substantial rainfall has made it a treacherous weekend at Silverstone and similar amounts of water on Sunday that were seen during qualifying could seriously hamper the race.
But as far as the track conditions go, Kovalainen feels there is little anyone can do about it. Whether they will do Caterham a favour during the grand prix is also a matter for discussion.
“For me it’s one of those things,” said Kovalainen. “The amount it’s been raining this week has been pretty heavy and if it had rained like this anywhere else, you’d have had the same. The water has nowhere to escape.
“It will be wet at some point on Sunday. It is what it is.
“I think there is more opportunity but I don’t think it makes much of a difference, especially if it’s a consistent rain the cars’ performance is still the dominating factor.
“It is a case of having the right strategy and the right tyres at the right time, all that. So there is an opportunity there – but then there is also an opportunity for things to go wrong.
“We will have to play it by ear – tomorrow is nothing you can plan for.”